STATEMENT: IfNotNow Joins Chorus of American Jewish Voices Against Israel’s Travel Ban
On Monday, the Israeli government took a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook by banning anyone who has ever supported boycotting any Israeli-controlled territory — including not just Israel itself but also illegal settlements in the West Bank — from traveling to the country. While we are principally concerned with ending the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation and do not take a position on the BDS movement, we recognize this as simply the clearest sign yet that Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies fear the power of nonviolent activism against an unjust status quo.
We believe that the Israeli occupation is a daily nightmare for those who live it, and a moral disaster for those who support it. We recognize Monday’s ban for what it is: a dangerous attack on nonviolent activists.
But we also recognize something else: Monday’s travel ban, endorsed by Trump’s State Department, is not new. Israel has a long history of blacklisting people who are critical of the state. While these bans have sometimes targeted Jewish activists, they continue to disproportionately target Palestinians and other people of color. This is not what democracy looks like — this is what occupation looks like.
Mainstream Jewish institutions, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, have already taken a public stand against this law. We call on other establishment Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federations of North America and AIPAC, to issue formal statements condemning this outrageous law demonizing anti-occupation activists.
We also pledge to continue fighting the occupation and all of its policies. On March 26th in Washington, DC, we’ll protest the annual AIPAC conference, which serves to enable the occupation through unconditional support of the Israeli government. We will make sure that AIPAC attendees hear our demand for freedom and dignity for Palestinians, Israelis, and all people.